Story Time – My Grey Bag

I have a grey bag. It’s stayed with me for a long time. Its a normal grey bag one that you might carry by your side or perhaps over your shoulder by it’s handles. You might not really think it’s that fancy or special at all; it doesn’t have wheels like the luggage bags you take through the airport, it doesn’t have a cool or stylish design, even the zips are sort of broken right now, however my grey bag reminded me of something important today.

Perhaps I should start by telling you a bit more about my grey bag, I got it when I was 16. It was the bag given to me by my parents as I was leaving home with the Department of Community Services. Inside I carried a few things. My clothes, my laptop, creams, medications and some important documents that I needed. It wasn’t much, but it was all I had. Now I don’t want to go too deeply into why I was leaving home or the events that had passed culminating into my departure for that would take too much time, I would like instead, to look at what happened after I left as I ventured out with my grey bag.

For the next 6 or so weeks I ended up couch hopping, to about 12 or so different homes. Some were my friends, some were of people I barely knew from school, some were old family friends, and some I didn’t know at all. My grey bag came with me the whole time. Now something that I remembered last night was how it felt carrying my bag. It was fine when I was staying at a place for a few days and while I was staying there I could leave my bag and it’s belongings there, but it was a bit harder when I was unsure of where I was staying that night.

If I didn’t know where I was staying that night, I would carry my bag. I still remember it dangling from my hand, one side of the bag weighing down more because it had my laptop and books. I still remember how it felt as I walked, that my arm swung just a little bit almost like an unbalanced pendulum feeling the contents within shift back and forth. It was actually a bit unsettling knowing that everything to my name that I owned was within this small grey bag. And even though it was everything that I had and was so important to me, my precious grey bag was so very heavy.

As I visited Centrelink I would carry my bag throughout the day and I remember it dragged my right arm down and every now and then I would switch to the other hand, until that hand got too tired and I switched back. Sometimes if my friend had called their parents that day to ask if I could stay over for the night they would help me carry it, or sometimes even better if their parents came to pick us up, I could put it in the boot so I wouldn’t have to carry it. I even remember once when I left a family friends house because they told me that they had called my parents and I would have to face them. I thought that I was going to sleep on the street that fateful night at 11 pm in Penshurst. I burst out in tears as I walked to the station, realizing that it was too far away and my strength was giving in that night. My grey bag was heavy.

However whenever I could stay at someone’s house for a couple of days and leave my bag there, even though it was a relief for me physically, it drained my mental and emotional state thinking about that bag. What if the house burned down? What if someone breaks in and steals my bag? What happens if I lose everything that I have? And sometimes even though it didn’t make sense, I would carry parts of the contents with me. Spare clothes in my backpack, sometimes my laptop with me, bearing the extra weight for a bit more extra security and assurance that even if everything was lost, I would still have some of it left. My grey bag was emotionally heavy for me.

I began to have many temporary homes. My friend’s place on the floor for a day, another friend’s house in the living room couch, the house of a family I don’t know for 3 days, a family friend’s house for 2 days. Wherever I could lay down my grey bag down became a temporary home. And along with having these homes came the feeling of safety, of security, of assurance, however… temporary. I knew that I couldn’t stay there forever, that they were only mometary, short-lived, temporary plans. It wasn’t really where I could stay forever, just until I got my life sorted out and had a place I could reliably call home. My grey bag was never fully unpacked. Taking out just what I needed for the night. A change of clothes, a squeeze of cream, a temporary laptop station, all quickly packed up as I moved onto my next home.

Long story short I eventually was able to find a place where I could rent out a room for rent that I could afford while still going to high school and finishing off my HSC. My grey bag was fully unpacked and it felt like home. The only times I used my grey bag later on was as I packed it lightly as I went off to camps. It still had that unbalanced feeling of its contents sliding around inside.

As I remembered my grey bag and it’s stories this morning it reminded me of something important. The world we live in right now is comfortable, for most of us, we’re blessed to have a roof over our heads, the feeling of security that we can continue to stay where we are without always having to move around, most of us also don’t have to drag a bag with all our belongings everywhere to temporary homes.

However something that I was reminded about was that this Earth we live on is only a temporary home. That uneasy feeling I felt as I wandered between different households is actually one I still feel with this world we live in. My grey bag is open with some things laid out here, but I know that I can’t stay so I keep the majority of my possessions inside. I’m just waiting for that place that I know I can really call home. Take out too much stuff out here and it’ll just take longer to pack in the morning.

The reality of the situation is that for those who trust in Jesus we can have full security and assurance in our future perfect eternal home. Heaven is a reality and although we might walk this temporary home called Earth we look forward to our eternal, lasting home in perfect relationship with Jesus. Don’t get too comfortable here.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:2-3

Thanks so much for reading this super long post and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my little story about me and my grey bag. God bless y’all.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21